A journalist I made the other day a good question: what important topic we are not talking about? My response, after thinking a little, is the situation of u.s. children. Now, it is not fair to say that we are ignoring the problems of our children. Elizabeth Warren, as is typical of her, has filed a plan of universal care to the children comprehensive and fully-funded. Bernie Sanders, as also is typical of him, is manifested in favor, but without giving details. And I know, all the other democratic candidates for the presidency advocate that will do more for the children.
But the policy on childhood has attracted less media attention than the debate on the “sanitation for all”, that will not be a reality in the short term, not to speak of that which has been called “brawl” Warren-Sanders. And I'm afraid that until the voters are well informed have little idea of the sad exceptionalism of the us policies in the face of childhood, which are dickensianas in comparison with those of all other advanced countries.
Maybe you misplaced some numbers. All developed countries require some form of paid leave for new mothers, usually three or four months; that is to say, all countries except the U.S., which does not offer any maternity leave. Most of the advanced countries devote considerable amounts of money to subsidies for families with children. In Europe, these subsidies equate to average of 2-3% of GDP; the corresponding figure in the USA is 0.6% of GDP.
The majority of advanced countries spend a lot of money to subsidies for families with children
Even in those cases in which the U.S. helps the children, the quality of this help tends to be bad. There has been a lot of comparisons between school lunches French and the americans: the French children are taught to eat healthy; the american children are treated basically as a repository for the disposal of surplus land.
What is especially striking is the contrast between the way in which we treat our children and the way in which we treat our elderly. Social Security is not too generous —there are good reasons for a larger view— but it isn't too bad if you compare it with the retirement systems of other countries. In fact, Medicare has a spending lavish in comparison with the systems of single-payer in other parts.
so that the negative u.s. to help the children not to form part of a broad position to the public programs, but to the children it gives them a deal that is singularly hard. Why?
Today, the political support for the aid programs to the kids will surely prejudiced by the fact that less than half of the population under 15 years is non-hispanic white. But before the immigration transformed the landscape of ethnic of the country, there was already a widespread perception that programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children helped basically “those people”, you know, the slackers who depend on public aid, the reinonas who drive Cadillacs at the expense of social assistance.
This perception weakened the support for the spending in the childhood. And it coincided with the widespread belief that the helps to poor families was creating a culture of dependency, which in turn was the culprit of the social collapse in the urban centers of the united STATES. In part as a response, the aid to families included increasingly the demands of work, or took forms as deductions in the statement of income, which are linked to income.
I Hope that whoever becomes the democratic candidate to pay due attention to the shameful treatment children
The result was a decline in aid to poor children, those who are most in need. However, at this point we know that the explanations cultural and social collapse were completely wrong. The sociologist William Julius Wilson posited long ago that the social disfunction in the big cities was not caused by culture, but by the disappearance of good jobs. And this has been confirmed by what happened in a good part of the u.s. homeland, which has suffered a demise similar to good jobs and a similar increase of the social disfunction.
What this means is that we have established a system basically evil, in which the children may not get the help they need to not be that their parents will find some jobs that don't exist. And evidence accumulates that this system is destructive as well as cruel.
Several studies have concluded that aid programs for children have big consequences in the long term. Those who receive a nutrition and health care appropriate are converted to grow into adults more healthy and productive. And in addition to the human side, these subsidies have an economic compensation: adults more healthy are less likely to need public assistance and more likely to pay more in taxes.
it is Probably excessive to affirm that the assistance to the children pays for itself. But it is definitely closer to do it that tax cuts to the rich. So that we should speak much more to help american children. Why don't we? At least part of the blame is Bernie Sanders, who became the public health for all in a test of purity progressive and on a bright object and bright chased by the media, at the expense of other policies that could vastly improve the lives of americans, and which are much more likely to become law. But it is not too late to reorient the approach. I hope that whoever gets to be the candidate or the democratic candidate to pay due attention to the shameful treatment that our country gives to the children.
Paul Krugman is a Nobel prize winner in Economics. © The New York Times, 2020.
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Updated Date: 18 January 2020, 04:00